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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today in the News (28 Jul 09)

Evolution:
Human Population Expanded During Late Stone Age. Genetic evidence is revealing that human populations began to expand in size in Africa during the Late Stone Age approximately 40,000 years ago. A research team led by Michael F. Hammer (Arizona Research Laboratory's Division of Biotechnology at the University of Arizona) found that sub-Saharan populations increased in size well before the development of agriculture. This research supports the hypothesis that population growth played a significant role in the evolution of human cultures in the Late Pleistocene.


Earliest Animals Lived In A Lake Environment, Research Shows. Evidence for life on Earth stretches back billions of years, with simple single-celled organisms like bacteria dominating the record. When multi-celled animal life appeared on the planet after 3 billion years of single cell organisms, animals diversified rapidly. Conventional wisdom has it that animal evolution began in the ocean, with animal life adapting much later in Earth history to terrestrial environments.

Vaccines:
Cancer Vaccines Led To Long-term Survival For Patients With Metastatic Melanoma. Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has announced promising data from a clinical study showing patient-specific cancer vaccines derived from patients' own cancer cells and immune cells were well tolerated and resulted in impressive long-term survival rates in patients with metastatic melanoma whose disease had been minimized by other therapies. "There is continued interest in developing new therapies for melanoma patients with recurrent or distant metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis because there are no systemic therapies that can be relied upon to cure them," said Robert O. Dillman, M.D., F.A.C.P., executive medical and scientific director at the Hoag Cancer Center and lead investigator for the study. "Patients with metastatic melanoma are at high risk for additional metastases and death."


Vi Typhoid Vaccine Proves Highly Effective In Young Children, Study Suggests. A new study has found that a currently available yet underused vaccine against typhoid fever is highly effective in young children and protects unvaccinated neighbors of vaccinees. The study, conducted by the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) in collaboration with the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata, India, was published in the July 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The IVI, based in Seoul, Korea, is a non-profit international organization devoted exclusively to development and deployment of new vaccines primarily for people in developing countries.

Autism:
I am skeptical of this report about breast milk causing autism, HOWEVER, I want to see what the anti-vax pro-disease nutters do with this info. I wonder if they will latch on to this like they did to things that have actually been tested and shown conclusively not to have a link? I doubt it!

Also, again leaning towards some sort of genetic link, there are changes in the genome even as a male ages, so this article would lend the conclusion that autism is genetic more than anything else. I would say this is inconclusive at best, but merits more study. Although, with as weak as the media is in even understanding basic science, I doubt that will really come out in any coverage.

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